Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Baker's Dozen of Full Moons ~ 2013

This year will see 13 full moons between January 27th 2013 and January 16th 2014, hence the baker's dozen. The next full moon is known as the 'Wolf Moon' and will be on January 27th 2013.

The Wolf Moon - Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full Moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next Moon.

Full Moons are a frequently researched event. Regardless of the audience, be it scientist, housewife or farmer, everyone wants to know the date so that they can take advantage of the energy of the night. Full Moons are intriguing, mysterious and, in many ways, like a beautiful sunny day, only at night. Moon energy is used for banishing unwanted influences in your life, protection magic and divination.

It is said that the best Full Moon magic can be conjured for seven days: the three days prior to the Full Moon, the night of the Full Moon itself, and three days after the Full Moon. Sometimes the results of Full Moon magic can take approximately one moon cycle to take hold and come to completion.

Drawing Down the Moon

The Full Moon is the time to invoke the Mother Goddess at the height of her glory, this is when the ceremony called "Drawing Down the Moon" is performed. During this ceremony the energy and essence of the Full Moon is drawn into oneself, when done properly you will feel a heightened trance state combined with a power surge that radiates through your whole body. Traditionally this is only done within a protective circle.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Huevos a la flamenco (Andalusian flamenco eggs)

This traditional Andalusian meal is bursting full of healthy tomatoes and peppers and only takes a few minutes to prepare. It's a winner on a cold winters night and needs only a few ingredients to create this wonderful taste of Spain.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 red peppers finely chopped
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
500g fresh tomatoes grated on a cheese grater (or a carton of tomato pasada)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
8 eggs
8 slices of serrano ham
8 thin slices of chorizo
1 Cup of frozen peas (defrosted and drained)
Chopped parsley to taste
Salt and pepper


Prep: 15 mins | Cook: 10 mins

Friday, 4 January 2013

My latest painting, however, my first portrait - Faith


Welcome back to my blog and a new year. I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be an 'Arty' one !!!

This painting of my niece was a Christmas present for my brother. I really set myself a challenge because  although I've painted on and off for 35 years, this is my first ever portrait. It took six consecutive Sundays to paint, which amalgamated, is less than a week, but this was because of the medium I used, ALKYD fast drying oil.

Griffin Fast Drying Oil Colour offers the excellent advantage of faster drying times compared to traditional oil colours. This means that the traditional oil techniques of both impasto and glazing can be done in considerably less time and a painting can be completed in a single session.

Because alkyd resin has physical properties that differ slightly from those of traditional oils, the pigment load is somewhat different as well. Experienced painters will notice slightly greater transparency compared to Artists' Oil Colour.

The most outstanding advantage of the Griffin Fast Drying Oil Colour is the speed of drying.

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6 - finished

Sunday, 30 December 2012

To all my fellow bloggers and followers.

Well, we can now all look forward to a fabulous 2013 because we survived the Mayan prediction.
So a very happy and prosperous New Year to everyone.

Feliz Ano Nuevo


Monday, 26 November 2012

Full Moon 28th November 2012

Full Beaver or Frost Moon

Historically, the Native Americans who lived in the area that is now the northern and eastern United States kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to the recurring full Moons.

November - was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.

Hope the sky remains clear wherever use reside, so you can too can view this special moon.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Samsung images - Flowers

As a professional photographer, I see nothing wrong with using your mobile phone's camera , as a tool to capture your surroundings when out and about. The Samsung Galaxy, has an exceptional 8 mega-pixel, auto-focus, LED flash - just to name a few of it's outstanding qualities. I believe that this sets it apart from other phone cameras. and below is a small selection of images captured on  the Samsung Galaxy, with a little help from photoshop.

Choose a selection of flowers

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Witch and Her Soul, a debut novel at 80 !!!!

With All Hallow's Eve and The Day of the Dead now behind us for another year, why not snuggle-up with a stunning debut novel from a writer on the threshold of her 80th birthday. This is a fascinating and utterly compelling fictionalised but fact-based account of the ‘witch hunt’ that gripped the county in the summer of 1612.
The Witch and Her Soul, a stunning debut novel

Four hundred years after their deaths, the Pendle witches continue to fire the imagination of readers and historians all over the world.

The mystery of their alleged dark arts and deeds has spawned hundreds of books and articles ... but who were these nine Lancashire women and two men, tried and condemned as evil, supernatural murderers?
Retired lecturer Christine Middleton from Samlesbury, one of the centres of Lancashire witching folklore, has returned to the scene of the ‘crimes’ to reconstruct the lives of the leading players, deconstruct the myths that have grown around them and give the witches a human makeover.

Middleton succeeds where many other writers have failed by humanising this group of disparate characters, putting their ‘offences’ into the context of a period of religious suspicion and turmoil, and allowing us to see them as innocents pursued by authoritarians and fanatics.

This is the tale of the Pendle witches told through the eyes of Jane Southworth, illegitimate daughter of Sir Richard Shireburn of Stonyhurst and later wife of Sir John Southworth of Samlesbury Hall.
And the result is moving, shocking and brutal... the realities of persecution, treachery and frenzied accusation are reborn in the graphically re-enacted trials and traumas of those closely involved in the terrible events that led to the gallows at Lancaster Castle.

Lancaster Castle

As she sits at her dying husband’s bedside in 1612, Jane Southworth begins her extraordinary diary, her confessional into which she commits a series of raw, evocative, deeply personal writings revealing her world, her forbidden beliefs and her desires.

Around her, the pursuit of those accused of witchcraft is just beginning in a county reputed to be one of the most unruly parts of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth’s realm.

From her early years at rural Stonyhurst, Jane was surrounded by controversy. Despite being a bastard child of Sir Richard, she was brought up in the main house alongside her mother and siblings.
It was a household that courted danger by secretly keeping alive the old and forbidden Catholic faith in a country where harbouring priests could still be legally punished by being crushed beneath a wooden slab.
After a brush with two local crones, old Mother Goggins and the Demdike Elizabeth Southern, Jane is convinced she has a special ‘power.’

But when she is sent to lodge with widow farmer and philanthropist Alice Nutter at Crow Tree Farm in Roughlee, near Pendle, Jane sees another side to life and faith because principled Alice practises a secret religion called the Family of Love, ‘a litany of sweet congratulation’ totally at odds with the harsher Catholic tenets of hellfire and punishment.

Slow to judge and quick to see the good in others, Alice publicly speaks out against the mistreatment of so-called witches, declaring that they have no real power to do harm and ‘it is only ignorance and fear that lend them reputation.’

However, the whispers that Alice sees as ‘malevolent but insubstantial’ start to grow and powerful enemies from both inside and outside Lancashire are waiting for an opportunity to take terrible revenge...
Middleton’s writing is elegant and richly descriptive, enabling the past to spring to life with startling authenticity and compelling drama.

The Witch and Her Soul is about flesh-and-blood women – not witches, not murderers, not purveyors of magic and mayhem but real, complex, vulnerable characters, downtrodden, often poverty-stricken, marginalised, misguided and abused.

Seventeenth century Lancashire revisited is an eye-opening, unforgettable experience; a history lesson, a page-turning thriller and a window into the soul of an age whose queen famously declared that she had ‘no desire to make windows into men’s souls.’

(Palatine Books, paperback, £7.99)

The witches of Pendle